Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Yomari Punhi: A Day to Eat Yomari Dumplings

Rabin Man Shakya

Punhi means full moon day in Nepal Bhasa, the language of the Newah people of Nepal. Yomari is a steamed dumpling which is made from rice flour with chaku (a kind of sweet and solid molasses) and crushed sesame seeds.

Yomari Punhi which is one of the popular festivals of the Newah people of Nepal is being celebrated, this year,  with a lot of enthusiasm on Dec 13, 2016.

Today, unlike 20 years ago,  the celebration of Yomari Punhi is not just confined to Nepal, it is celebrated by the Newah people across the world.

And, yes, going by the posts in the social media sites, today this festival is not only observed in the family level but in the community level also in various countries of the world.

It goes without saying that Newah heritage is full of myths, legends and folklores. And according to one of the mythologies related to Yomari Punhi, the emergence and origin of the celebration kicked off from Panchal Nagar which is Panauti today. The myth goes on to say that a married farmer couple in Panchal Nagar had an unexpected and unprecedented paddy yield and that they made a new kind of bread that was made of the rice flour and was shared with the fellow village folks who really appreciated and loved it and hence the name  Yomari (favorite bread).

According to the same folklore, the farmer couple presented Yomari to God of Wealth - Kuber who was walking by incognito. The God  of Wealth rewarded the farmer couple with the riches.

I remember in my childhood days, my mother and  my late grand mother used to make not only just regular Yomaris but  also the Yomaris  in the shape of Gods and Goddesses.

I am one of those Newahs who is quite nostalgic for the Newah traditions. I remember during my childhood days, we as kids used to go to our neighborhood  to ask for Yomari and used to chant the traditional rhyme:

Yomari Chwamu
Uki Dune Haku
Byusa Maku
Mabyusa Phaku
Byumha Lyase
Mabyumha Buri Kuti

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